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classical, nor could be prevailed upon to spare him the least admiration for the grace and dexterity with which he managed it.

Yorick, the lively, witty, sensitive, and heedless Parson, is the well known personification of Sterne himself, and undoubtedly, like every portrait of himself drawn by a master of the art, bore a strong resemblance to the original. Still, however, there are shades of simplicity thrown into the character of Yorick, which did not exist in that of Sterne. We cannot believe, that the jests of the latter were so void of malice prepense, or that his satire entirely flowed out of honesty of mind and mere jocundity of humour. It must be owned, moreover, that Sterne was more like to have stolen a passage out of Stevinus if he could have found one to his purpose, than to have left one of his manuscripts in the volume, with the careless indifference of Yorick. Still, however, we gladly recognize the general likeness between the author and the child of his fancy, and willingly pardon the pencil, which, in the delicate task of self-delineation, has softened some traits and improved others.

Uncle Toby, with his faithful Squire, the most delightful characters in the work, or perhaps in any other, are drawn with such a pleasing force and discrimination, that they more than entitle the author to a free pardon for his literary peculations, his indecorum, and his affectation ; nay-authorize him to leave the court of criticism not forgiven only, but applauded and rewarded, as one who has exalted and honoured humanity, and impressed upon his readers such a lively picture of kindness and benevolence, blended with courage, gallantry, and simplicity, that their hearts must be warmed by, whenever it is recalled to memory. Sterne, indeed, might boldly plead in his own behalf, that the passages which he borrowed from others were of little value, in comparison to those which are exclusively original ; and that the former might have been written by many persons, while in his own proper line he stands alone and inimitable. Something of extravagance may, perhaps, attach to Uncle Toby's favourite amusements. Yet in England, where men think and act with little regard to the ridicule or censure of their neighbours, there is no impossibility, per

haps no great improbability in supposing, that a humourist might employ such a mechanical aid as my Uncle's bowling-green, in order to encourage and assist his imagination, in the pleasing but delusive task of castle-building. Men have been called children of a larger growth, and among the antic toys and devices with which they are amused, the device of my Uncle, with whose pleasures we are so much disposed to sympathise, does not seem so unnatural upon reflection as it may appear at first sight.

It is well known (through Dr Ferriar's labours) that Dr Slop, with all his obstetrical engines, may be identified with Dr Burton of York, who published a treatise of Midwifery in 1751. This person, as we have elsewhere noticed, was on bad terms with Sterne's uncle; and though there had come strife and unkindness between the uncle and the nephew, yet the latter seems to have retained aversion against the enemy of the former. But Sterne, being no politician, had forgiven the Jacobite, and only persecutes the Doctor with his raillery, as a quack and a Catholic.

It is needless to dwell longer on a work so generally known. The style employed by Sterne is fancifully ornamented, but at the same time vigorous and masculine, and full of that animation and force which can only be derived by an intimate acquaintance with the early English prose-writers. In the power of approaching and touching the finer feelings of the heart, he has never been excelled, if indeed he has ever been equalled; and may be at once recorded as one of the most affected, and one of the most simple writers, -as one of the greatest plagiarists, and one of the most original geniuses, whom England has produced. Dr Ferriar, who seemed born to trace and detect the various mazes through which Sterne carried on his depredations upon ancient and dusty authors, apologizes for the rigour of his inquest, by doing justice to those merits which were peculiarly our author's own. We cannot better close this article than with the sonnet in which his ingenious inquisitor makes the amende honourable to the shade of Yorick.

“Sterne, for whose sake I plod through miry ways,
Of antique wit and quibbling mazes drear,
Let not thy shade malignant censure fear,

Though aught of borrowed mirth my search betrays.
Long slept that mirth in dust of ancient days ;
(Erewhile to Guise or wanton Valois dear)
Till waked by thee in Skelton's joyous pile,
She flung on Tristram her capricious rays ;
But the quick tear that checks our wondering smile,
In sudden pause or unexpected story,
Owns thy true mastery-and Le Fevre's woes,
Maria's wanderings, and the Prisoner's throes,
Fix thee conspicuous on the throne of glory.

PREFATORY MEMOIR

TO

GOLDSMITH.

Our biographical notices of distinguished Novelists must be in some degree proportioned to the space which their labours occupy in the present collection. On that principle, the present subject, so interesting in every other point of view, cannot be permitted long to detain us. The circumstances also of Dr Goldsmith's life, his early struggles with poverty and distress, the success of his brief and brilliant career after he had become distinguished as an author, are so well known, and have been so well told, that a short outline is all that ought here to be attempted. · Oliver Goldsmith was born on the 29th November 1728, at Pallas, (or rather Palice) in the parish of Farney and county of Longford, in Ireland, where his father, the Rev. Charles Goldsmith, a minister of the Church of England, at that time resided. This worthy clergyman, whose virtues his celebrated son afterwards rendered immortal, in the character of the Village Preacher, had a family of seven children, for whom he was enabled to provide but very indifferently. He obtained ultimately a benefice in the county of Roscommon, but died early ; for the careful researches of the Rev. John Graham of Lifford have found his widow nigra veste senescens, residing with her son Oliver in Ballymahon, so early as 1740. Among the shop accounts of a petty grocer of the place, Mrs Goldsmith's name occurs frequently as a customer for trifling articles ; on which occasions Master Noll appears to have been his mother's usual emissary. He was recollected, however, in the neighbourhood, by more poetical employments, as that of playing on the flute, and wandering in solitude on the shores, or among the islands of the river Inny, which is remarkably beautiful at Ballymahon.

Oliver early distinguished himself by the display of lively talents, and of that uncertainty of humour which is so often attached to genius, as the slave in the chariot of the Roman triumph. An uncle by affinity, the Rev. Thomas Contarine, undertook the expence of affording to so promising a youth the advantages of a scholastic education. He was put to school at Edgeworths-town, and, in June 1744, was sent to Dublin College as a sizer ; a situation which subjected him to much discouragement and ill usage, especially as he had the misfortune to fall under the charge of a brutal tutor.

On 15th June, 1747, Goldsmith obtained his only academical laurel, being an Exhibition on the foundation of Erasmus Smythe, Esq. Some indiscreet frolic induced him soon afterwards to quit the University for a period; and he appears thus early to have commenced that sort of idle strolling life, which has often great charms for youths of genius, because it frees them from every species of subjection, and leaves them full masters of their own time, and their own thoughts; a liberty which they do not feel too dearly bought, at the expence of fatigue, of hunger, and of all the other inconvenencies incidental to those who travel without money. Those who can recollect journies of this kind, with all the shifts, necessities, and petty adventures, which attend them, will not wonder at the attractions which they had for such a youth as Goldsmith. Notwithstanding these erratic expeditions, he was admitted Bachelor of Arts in 1749.

Goldsmith's persevering friend, Mr Contarine, seems to have recommended the direction of his nephew's studies to medicine, and in the year 1752 he was settled at Edinburgh to pursue that science. Of his residence in Scotland, Goldsmith retained no favourable recollections. He was thoughtless, and he was cheated; he was poor, and he was nearly starved. Yet, in a very lively letter from Edinburgh, addressed to Robert Brianton of Ballymahon, he closes a sarcastic de

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